Month: June 2016

Where in the UK has the best water supply?

best water supply

How much do you know about tap water in the UK? Our guide will get you up to speed and help you to think more about the pure stuff that flows out of your taps.

The Best-Tasting Tap Water?

Severn Trent is the utility firm that products the best-tasting tap water in the UK, as rated by a panel of food experts that included Tom Aikens, the Michelin-starred chef. The water was described by one panellist as being comparable to a mountain stream for its freshness. Severn Trent covers mid-Wales and the Midlands.

In second place was Anglian Water, and in third place was Thames Water. The area with the poorest-tasting tap water is served by Wessex Water, including Bath and Bristol.

The Different Tastes of the UK Water Supply

Research shows that each area of the UK has water that tastes slightly different – as evidenced by the taste test above. The same is true with bottled water, which is drunk by around 30 million UK customers.

Is Bottled Better Tasting Than Tap?

This debate has raged on for years, but a recent survey suggested that tap water is now winning. The average British customer now drinks around 40 litres of bottled water annually, and the industry in the UK is worth around £2 billion. However, surveys have suggested that the average customer can’t tell the difference between bottled and tap water, especially if it has been filtered at home. Hard water also contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which would otherwise come with a heftier price tag for a bottled variety.

How Do the Costs Stack Up?

Research suggests that the average consumer will spend around £20,000 in their lifetime on bottled water or other associated drinks. Compare this to a litre of tap water, which Thames Water has calculated costs around 0.097p – equating to 1p a bucket. This means that bottled water costs a whopping 500 times more than pure tap water. This is similar to paying around £1,500 for a glass of wine or a pint of beer. Interestingly, those expensive coffees, lattes and commercial drinks that you buy from fancy coffee and drinks chains tend to use tap water – and 90pc of the resulting drink will just be tap water. Again, are you suddenly less inclined to pay £3 or so for the product?

Is Hard Water Anything to Worry About?

There are no known negative effects of hard water on human health, and in fact hard water tends to contain higher mineral levels. However, it can lead to scummy tea, limescale on kettles and appliances and a requirement for greater amounts of detergent. Shower screens tend to get scummy, pipes can experience build-up and people report that their hair looks duller when they wash it using hard water. It also has a particular taste which is very noticeable to people who live in soft-water areas. Hard water can be improved taste-wise by using a simple home water filter. You can also install mechanical water softener units or use water-softening products that contain baking soda and borax.

Which Parts of the UK Have Hard Water?

Some of the regions with the hardest water include Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex and Wiltshire.

What About Water Fluoride?

Fluoride, a naturally occurring element, is added to the water supply in some British areas to boost tooth health and cut levels of tooth decay. This is determined by local authorities, and there are schemes in place across parts of the North East, West, East and West Midlands, parts of Eastern England and Yorkshire and the Humber. In some areas of the Midlands and the North East, the water supply has sufficient naturally occurring fluoride in comparable levels. Learn more at:

Did You Know That Your Water Pressure Can Be Boosted at Home?

Improvements in technology mean that low-pressure areas no longer need suffer with lazy flushing toilets and trickling showers. Water booster pump products give flexibility of location and act to provide a fantastic flow of water in the home, sometimes mixing in air for ‘rainfall’ showers or using other technologies to increase the flow and power of the water stream.

For more advice or to find contact details of your local water and wastewater suppliers visit http://www.water.org.uk/consumers/find-your-supplier

 

What causes Water Hammer & how to eliminate it

Water Hammer

Many of us have experienced banging pipes when a tap is turned off. This is usually caused by a mains pressure system which is at high pressure. Fast-acting valves causing banging.

Alternatively, the cause can be fast-acting valves on appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers. These valves suddenly stop the water that is moving along the pipes. A shock wave results, and this causes the pipes to shudder, causing the banging.

The banging gets worse if the pipes aren’t properly supported or if the valves are worn. The trouble is that the noise isn’t just irritating: it’s also a sign that damage may be occurring. So you do need to do something about it.

New Dishwasher or Washing Machine?

You may be aware that the noise only started after someone worked on your water system or plumbing. Or maybe it began after a new washing machine or dishwasher was installed. If so, these are the areas to start looking at. Be aware, however, that when one part of a plumbed system is changed to correct the water hammer, you may find it starts up in another part of the system. Dishwashers and washing machines have a water supply that is controlled by solenoid valves. These are electrically operated, and they stop the flow of water immediately, so they can cause water hammer or a “bang” sound as the valve shuts off. However, the flexible hose that is used to connect to water supply is usually resilient enough to absorb the shut-off.

Ball and Float Valves and Fixings May Be Culprits

The hammering may also be caused by ball and float valves, worn stop valves or badly fixed pipework. Pipes must be fixed securely to the surface they are on at every couple of metres. Be aware that pipes run under the floor and through woodwork where they have been boxed in. It may pay to look at these first because as they’re not seen, they may have been less carefully fixed. When you look at the pipes, make sure that the pipe clips keep the pipes securely in place, but also that the clips are the right size and don’t allow the pipes to move in their fixings.

Water Ripples from the Tank

Another cause of hammering pipes is water ripples happening inside water tanks which have a ball/float valve controlling the water level. When water flows into the tank, the valve float rocks up and down, constantly closing and opening the valve. This causes a wave system to be set up, and this echoes along the pipes, causing the hammering sound. Plastic water tanks can flex considerably, so they should have a reinforcing plate (metal) to stop them moving.

How to Avoid Water Hammer

There are several ways to avoid this if it does occur (http://uk.grundfos.com/service-support/faqs/home-owner.html).

If the ball/float valve is no longer fit for purpose, this may cause water ripples, and another cause is if a low-pressure nozzle has been fitted to a value which is connected to a high-pressure water supply. Alternatively, UPS pumps can help ensure even circulation of liquids. The Grundfos circulating pump is a high-efficiency answer to these kinds of problems, with low noise levels and the ability to adapt to different environments within the water system. Grundfos Alpha is highly innovative but user-friendly – leave it on the factory setting and it will sort out what it needs to do to operate at peak efficiency.

If the problem persists, you may want to look at an equilibrium valve. This uses the water pressure from the inlet to promote valve closure – but these valves may be difficult to source in the UK.

KSB Launch New Range of Energy Efficient Submersible Borehole Pumps

Energy Efficient Pumps

KSB Pumps have specialised in the production of water pumps, valves and systems for over 140 years and their products and services keep the world’s domestic, commercial and industrial water supplies running.

With more than 80 years’ experience in the design, development and implementation of borehole pumps alone, KSB are a world-leader in waste water management systems and can be relied upon to deliver not only reliable, high-performance pumps, but outstanding advice and customer service too.

However, despite being well-established experts in their field, KSB are not a company to rest on their laurels.

With their eye on the water management needs of the future, their experienced network of engineers and developers have been working hard to press forward with innovative new products and their latest lines have just been revealed at the 2016 IFAT.

IFAT is the world-leading International Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management, and it attracts exhibitors from all over the world who network, trade, promote their products and discuss the future of the water management industry.

It was here that, among more than 3000 of the world’s most respected companies, KSB Pumps revealed its new UPA range of energy efficient, dirty water submersible pumps.

These new energy saving borehole pumps offer users and the environment a number of advantages over other synchronous or asynchronous alternatives:

Green Credentials

Every organisation has a responsibility to update its technologies to the most energy efficient standards available to reduce their carbon footprint.

These new KSB UPA pumps enable companies to do that, but from a commercial perspective, they also enable organisations to increase their green credentials without incurring additional costs or compromising on performance and efficiency.

Performance and Efficiency

With in-built, ‘permanent, magnet excited synchronous motors’ the new KSB submersible pumps offer a high-performance output that ‘clearly exceeds that of conventional asynchronous motors’ without developing excessive heat.

This has been achieved with:

  • Frequency inverters that optimise and adjust flow rates to regulate and reduce the frequency of pump starts, paired with patented sand separators which extend the pump’s life.
  • A stainless steel and hard carbon construction that operates continuously and removes the need for maintenance.
  • Mechanical seals that prevent waste fluid from mixing with motor fluid to increase the performance and availability of the motor.
  • Dynamically balanced rotors that ensure smooth running.
  • Lubricated, self-adjusting tilting pads inside the thrust bearings plus counter-thrust bearings that absorb hydraulic axial thrust to protect the impellers and prevent them from coming into contact with the casings.

Cost Reduction

The cleverly engineered design and construction of the new KSB UPA pump means that users can enjoy increased efficiency and lower running costs.

With a reduction in the energy required to power the pump, immediate and ‘enormous savings’ can be made on operational costs but in the long-term, there are other significant savings to be made.

The construction of the casings and its internal workings ensures an extended life, while the maintenance-free reliability it offers reduces the potential costs of down-time due to mechanical errors and any associated labour costs for repairs.

In comparison with other submersible borehole water pumps currently available, any outlay made will be recouped quickly to generate a swift return on the investment.

Choice of Applications

With a motor and pump system officially certified for use with drinking water, the new UPA pump series has a number of applications to ensure that both individuals and organisations can enjoy the benefits of them.

A choice of different metal variants are available, so any aggressive fluids can easily be managed with the stainless steel pump sets of 8 inches and above, while the increased output on offer means they are suitable for use with larger pumps to manage flow rates of up to 850 cubic meters per second.

This makes them ideal for handling clean or dirty water for:

  •         Irrigation and drainage
  •         Pressure boosting
  •         Industrial and residential water supplies
  •         Groundwater management
  •         Raw or service water supplies

To find out more about KSB UPA Pumps and how you can use them to your advantage, get in touch with the knowledgeable team here at Anchor Pumps.

 

Common shower pump problems & solutions

Shower pumps are a common feature in many homes, allowing you to get a good water flow at the shower head even if the normal water pressure in the house wouldn’t allow it. However, shower pump problems can often occur too. Here are some of the most common issues and how to deal with them.

Basic Checks

If your pump isn’t working at all, check that the power to it is turned on and check that it hasn’t tripped out – due to running dry, for example. Next check that none of the inlet or outlet pipes are kinked or blocked and stopping water from getting through. Try resetting the pump by switching off the power for a few seconds.

Pump Up the Volume

One of the most complained-about shower pump problems is noise. Often this is due to the way the pump is installed. It’s important to ensure that anti-vibration feet are fitted, where supplied, and that the pump is on a firm platform. Any pipework on either side of the pump needs to be properly supported by clips and bends in flexible hoses kept to a minimum.

Feel the Pulse

If the pump pulses when it’s running, this is usually due to some form of blockage. It could be limescale in the shower head or a collapsed hose causing back pressure at the pump. You can check this by removing the head and then the hose in turn to see if the pump then runs smoothly. It it still doesn’t, then check any filters on the pump itself.

Go with the Flow

You might think that of the shower pump problems to have, too much flow would be one of the better ones, but it can lead to your wasting water and using stored hot water faster. The best way to tackle this is to close the isolator valves on the outlet side of the pump down slightly – don’t restrict the flow on the inlet side of the pump.

Head Scratcher

You’ll often hear shower pumps referred to as positive or negative head, but what does this actually mean? It’s all to do with where the water that enters the pump comes from. If it’s fed from a header tank that’s above the shower, then it will be positive head.

If the shower is above the header tank level, then you’ll need a negative head shower pump, although many modern pumps are capable of working in both sets of conditions.

What a Waste

Mostly, we think of shower pumps as supplying the water feeding the shower. Depending on where it’s located, however, it’s possible you may have a shower waste pump too. Products like the Saniflo shower can be used to permit a shower to be installed in locations – basements, for example – where normal gravity-flow drainage for the waste pipe isn’t possible.

Running on Empty

Most pumps have dry run protection, which cuts in to protect them from damage if the water supply is interrupted. If this protection kicks in, the pump will stop. You need to turn off the mains power to the pump – there will usually be an isolator switch or fused spur – for a few seconds to reset the pump. You then need to open and close the taps to get any air out of the system and allow the pump to return to its normal state.

In a Jam

If your pump makes a constant humming noise, it may well be that it’s jammed. There are a number of possible reasons for this. In hard water areas it could have become clogged with limescale, or the problem could be due to a fault like a broken impeller. In either event, this is probably a sign that you’ll need to replace the pump.